Scores: Indiana State 3, WSU 0; Indiana State 3, WSU 2; Indiana State 5, WSU 4
Key stats: The Shockers hit .191 in the series with four extra-base hits. 1B Casey Gillaspie homered three times and OF Daniel Kihle, who started one game, doubled. 3B Chase Simpson was the only other hitter to contribute much, with five walks and two hits. His on-base percentage of .538 matched Gillaspie’s. WSU starters A.J. Ladwig and Cale Elam pitched well and freshman Sam Tewes did enough on a Sunday to make it competitive. The Shockers committed one error, although it was a costly one.
Records: WSU 16-14, 2-4 MVC; SIU 21-7, 5-4
- Many of you have watched more Shocker baseball this season than I, because of my basketball duties. It is hard to get a gauge on this team because of the injuries that have taken six position players, all of whom started, out of the lineup for varying times. Offense is a problem and a healthy lineup would give coach Todd Butler more options, at the least. Instead of using a series win over Cal State Fullerton as a launching pad, WSU stumbled to four losses last week and scored a total of eight runs. OF Garrett Bayliff didn’t hit well over the weekend (2 for 13), his first action after missing three games with a strained hamstring. His return should help over the long haul because of his history of hitting. WSU needs him, and leadoff hitter Tanner Dearman, to get on base in front of Gillaspie. “It’s kind of like a virus,” Butler said. “Right now, we’re in the virus mode. They’re trying. They’re pressing. When you see guys going up there looking for a pitch with runners in scoring position and they don’t pull the trigger and swing, that’s called pressing.”
- WSU will start Drew Palmer on Tuesday at Kansas State and Garrett Brummett on Wednesday at Oral Roberts. Mid-week pitching has been another problem as the Shockers lost three of their past four mid-week games and didn’t have a starter last longer than three innings in any of the four. Kris Gardner threw well in relief on Sunday (three scoreless innings) and Butler may give him another chance to start if that continues. “That’s a promising thing coming out of a tough weekend,” Butler said. “He threw the ball differently today. I can see how he’s had success in the past. He threw the ball, he didn’t push the ball.” Gardner allowed three hits and didn’t walk a batter. When he is throwing with confidence, he produces a lot of weak swings and uncertainty and that is what he did Sunday.
- WSU is on its way to another good defensive season. It has committed two errors in the past eight games despite the lineup juggling.
- MVC newcomer Dallas Baptist is in first place after winning five of six on the road to start conference play. If WSU wants to be in the race, it must win the series at Evansville this weekend before coming home to play Southern Illinois and Bradley.
Next up: at Kansas State, 6:30 p.m. Tuesday (Cox 22)